Living in Me

“One day, you will be old enough to start reading fairytales again.”
C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

Between you and me folks, I think I’ve been living in these tales for some time. Perhaps they’re living in me.

The Old Hermit

I met the old hermit who steps through
the wood, talking with trees, blessing
their roots. Stories are told about this poor loon,
how he mingles with elves and tends to the wolves,

healing their wounds, scratching their aches.
His beard, all gray, hangs long and thick
and his eyes are as green as an oak’s springtime leaf.
He walks with a limp, his shoulders are hunched,

and his hat sits like a chimney atop his gray head.
A bit cautious was I as I nodded hello, for he smelt of old rags,
of old books, and old cheese, but a smile spread beneath
his itchy, long beard, a smile so warm that I asked him his name.

Father, said he, is the elves’ name for me and the trees kindly call
me their boy. The shadows that lurk have dubbed me Strange Light
and the fairies that flit from flower to limb have decided that Glimlach’s
my name. The trolls call Gromtinker when they need my help

as do goblins, gargoyles, and, yes, ogres too.
Now, what would you call me? Have you and idea?
If not, I would simply ask this. Call me your friend
and I’ll call you mine. Tis all that’s important to know.

I shook my friend’s hand, wishing him well, and stepped
on my way. Indeed, there was work to be done,
but the smile that I smiled as I toiled all that day
is now stretched on my face  – always.

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